4 Functions of a Safety Team
A great addition to any kidmin
I think I can hear you say already … “Are you kidding me, Mark? I can barely keep my rooms staffed, and now you want me to have a Safety Team?!”
That’s right, a safety team can provide a different level of benefit to your children’s ministry that most teachers and volunteers are too busy to spot. Although you may have a hard time finding leaders for a classroom, having positions on a security team may help people “get their feet wet” in children’s ministry while providing a key service to your church.
Consider the following functions of a security team that would benefit every church.
- Watching for unusual behaviors: This is not to imply they are watching for kids who are acting up and work to keep them quiet. As a safety team they can observe the kids to see if there is any bullying going on, if there is a suspicious adult hanging around the area, or if an activity may get a little dangerous. The security team is visible and should be easily identifiable as being involved in keeping the kids safe (consider a vest, name tag, or lanyard). Parents also like knowing that there are people who are just there to watch for the safety of their kids.
- Creating safety plans: There’s a lot to think about when considering the safety of kids. Evacuations, allergies, medical situations, people who intend harm, kids who go missing, etc. Rather than trying to develop plans and train leaders about their appropriate responses for all of these, meet with the security team to assign this responsibility to them. Then review their work. Once your church leadership agrees on the plan, set up times for them to train your volunteers about the responsibilities of the Safety Team and of how other volunteers will interact with the Safety Team.
- Calling for medical assistance: With an appropriately staffed safety team, you can have people equipped to know when to call 911, and/or an on-site medical professional who is willing to assist in case of emergencies. This safety team could all be trained in first aid and therefore help prevent well-intentioned, but medically untrained, leaders from making costly mistakes if someone is injured or sick.
- Extra Eyes and Hands: I do not recommend that a safety team be utilized as ministry volunteers as it will distract them from their role of safety. (If they want to be involved in ministry, by all means replace them on the safety team and move them into ministry.) However, they can be an extra set of eyes and hands to make sure that if a child heads to the restroom that no one goes in after him or her. They can be equipped to watch for “escape artists” and be trained to know how to appropriately bring them back to the group. By having a safety team who covers these functions, it will help the ministry volunteers stay focused on ministry.
It’s no secret that there is a lot of administration involved in children’s ministry, and adding one more piece may seem like a significant undertaking. But when you take the time to invest in various teams, you will see your leadership ability expand. By having a safety team, it allows other leaders and volunteers the ability to have a greater focus on relational ministry with the children.